Joseph and Jesus #12

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report” (Genesis 37:2 KJV).

Let us search the Scriptures to see how Joseph is a type of the antitype Jesus….

We Berean Bible students have seen how Joseph and Jesus are alike in excess of 20 specific traits and circumstances. This is certainly not coincidental. To those who want to see, hear, and believe, it is as clear as can be. Joseph served as a template, foreshadow, preview, pattern, or outline: by nature, that is a type in the Bible. Centuries later, the antitype (Jesus Christ) shared those same qualities and underwent those very situations. By studying the one, we better appreciate the other, rejoicing how the LORD God was omniscient, knowing well in advance what would occur all along. Joseph’s whole life—even seemingly insignificant attributes and situations—prophesied what another beloved Son would be like and what He would experience.

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10,11). Like the other Old Testament prophets, Moses (who wrote about Joseph in Genesis) possessed limited knowledge. He had no idea the Holy Spirit was using him to present Messiah’s two comings with such vivid details—one arrival to suffer and die, and a return to conquer and reign. Stephen, speaking in Acts 7:9-16, had more light than Moses, for by that time the Lord Jesus Christ had already come once and the saints in early Acts were anticipating His reappearance. With a completed Bible canon, we have even greater insight than Moses and Stephen combined. May we be thankful!

Joseph is just one of several types of Jesus Christ: other examples include Joseph’s brother Benjamin, plus Adam, Abel, Noah, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samson, David, and Solomon. While beyond the scope of this study, they too are equally fascinating.

Whom We Have Believed

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12 KJV).

It is not so much what we have believed, but whom we have believed!

When asked about his religious persuasion, a prominent individual readily admitted total confusion. He actually confessed that he did not know what he believed, though he did sense a “higher power” (a vague comment on which he could not elaborate because he was at a loss for words). This man is quite ill-fated, particularly because he lives in a nation with “Christian” church buildings on nearly every street corner and Bibles in almost every home (or, at least, internet access to a Bible!). God the Holy Spirit revealed, inspired, preserved, and translated His Book—the Holy Bible—so we would not be ignorant (uninformed, untaught) unless we chose to be!

Indeed, Satan, “the god of this world,” hides our gospel from them who are lost, for he “hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). Yet, as Almighty God enabled us to overcome that darkness so we could learn His will for us (see John 7:17), if they are willing to step into the light, He will give them the same spiritual awareness He has given us. The problem lies in their lack of readiness to see what He has already furnished.

Yet, Christianity is much more than believing something. As we gather from today’s Scripture, it is about believing Someone, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom we have entrusted our soul’s eternal wellbeing. After all, if the God-Man shedding His sinless blood and rising from the dead cannot save us from our sins, then we are truly doomed forever. However, unlike those who “do not know what to believe,” separate from those who “do not know who to believe,” “[we] know whom [we] have believed, and [are] persuaded that he is able to keep [guard, protect] that which [we] have committed unto him [our souls and spirits] against that day!” 🙂

Like-Minded

Monday, January 16, 2023

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephesians 4:3-6 KJV).

Recently, I received through the regular mail a generous financial donation for our ministry. The man, quite far away, who contacted me had left his phone number, which I called so I could thank him personally.

Answering the phone, he was delighted to hear from me. As we conversed, he explained how he was a former works-religion cult member who had since heard and believed the Message of God’s Grace. Now, he was a Bible-believing dispensationalist who “just so happened” to find our ministry websites while browsing the internet, and was grateful for our innumerable Bible studies (articles and videos) available online. I also learned that he had had a heart attack only a few days prior to our phone call. Joking with him, I said, “God is not finished with you yet! He still wants you here on Earth, and His grace is sufficient!” He agreed, and we continued having wonderful fellowship around our Lord Jesus Christ, closing our chat with, “Either we will talk again here [Earth!], or, up there [Heaven!].”

Brethren, it is quite strange, but true. You can meet a “total stranger,” learn he or she is a member of the Church the Body of Christ, and, in a short amount of time they seem like you have known them your entire life. That is the harmony of the Spirit of God, taking people from all stations and nations and making them saints according to the Word of Truth. Re-read today’s Scripture: “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:3-6). We should all agree on these points, for they are, in fact, what unite us to everything that Father God is doing today!

A Book That Will Teach

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone we can trust to teach us God’s truth!

Once, I heard a minister give his self-proclaimed “prophetic” message about top headlines that would appear in the coming year. While he reassured his audience that he received this information directly from “the Lord” (?), he gave a disclaimer: “I do not know, but at the end of this year, we will see if what I say came to pass.” Unlike the inner impressions and hunches of this “Christian” preacher, the Holy Bible is infallible, and we can trust its information completely.

Long, long ago, God Almighty wrote a Book, and He preserved it through history through a multiplicity of manuscript copies, so that it could eventually be translated into English, so we could read it even today! (Of course, Satan, the master counterfeiter that he is, most certainly had his own manuscripts—they still circulate today as corrupt Bible translations.) God promised to preserve His words forever (Psalm 12:6,7; Isaiah 30:8; Matthew 24:35; 1 Peter 1:25). Consequently, every person will stand before Him one day to give account as to what he or she did with that Bible. Did we reject it in favor of counterfeits? Did we re-translate it to fit our denominational beliefs? Did we apply it to life by faith? Did we even read it at all?

As English-speaking people, we understand—or, at least, we should understand—that we can trust the 400-year-old King James Bible. Sadly, even in many church circles, we are often cautioned not to trust God’s preserved Word. Unfortunately, footnotes, study notes, and seminarians usually attempt to claim that authority by offering “better” readings or “better” manuscripts. Beloved, we can do without unbelieving textual critics and their “scholarship.” God does not need lost people to explain His Word to His children; He never did and He never will (1 Corinthians 2:14). Never forget that!

The Holy Spirit will teach us the King James Bible if we “read” (Ephesians 3:4), “study” (2 Timothy 2:15), and “consider” it (2 Timothy 2:7)!

The Word Was Made Flesh

Sunday, December 25, 2022

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” (John 1:1,14 KJV).

On this Christmas Day, we reflect on the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

The candidate who could solve man’s sin problem had to meet two requirements. He had to be God, and He had to be man—a “God-Man.” It had to be God, because God’s righteousness had to be satisfied, but it also had to be man, for it was man who had sinned. God’s righteousness was offended, since “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But, it was also a man who had sinned, “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

Consider Philippians 2:5-8: “Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” In short, heaven’s best—Jesus Christ—came to save earth’s worst—us! In summary, Jesus Christ was born to die for us.

Brethren, the salvation that we enjoy today in Christ could not be possible without the shed blood of Christ on Calvary’s cross, and the shed blood of Christ could not be possible without the incarnation of Christ! God is a Spirit (John 4:24), and in order for Him to shed sinless blood, He had to first have blood. Thus, it behooved Jesus Christ to take upon Himself the form of a man. It was at this time of year that God the Son entered the virgin Mary’s womb, possessing a body that was conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Remember, “The Word was made flesh” (today’s Scripture) so we could have an opportunity to be “made the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Merry Christmas!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. It can be read here or watched here.

The Virgin Conception of Christ

Monday, December 19, 2022

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14 KJV).

While Christendom speaks of the “virgin birth of Christ,” according to today’s Scripture, a more accurate term would be the “virgin conception of Christ.” There was nothing unusual about Christ’s birth; it was His conception that was unique because there was no human father!

Interestingly, today’s Scripture has been the point of controversy for over a century (to Satan’s delight!). Some modern Bibles (RSV, NRSV, et al.) translate the Hebrew word here translated “virgin” as the vague “young woman,” thereby leaving room for the heretical idea that Joseph was Jesus’ biological father (and denying Christ’s deity)! If someone ever tells you almah (the Hebrew word translated “virgin”) can mean “young woman” or “virgin,” they are right, but point out that the key to choosing the right translation is not up to a translator, but rather the Holy Ghost!

The author of Matthew’s Gospel, filled with the Holy Ghost, knew which translation—“young woman” or “virgin”—was what God had intended in Isaiah 7:14. If we want to know what God meant in Isaiah 7:14, why not ask God?

“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “Behold a virgin shall be with child…” (Matthew 1:22,23a). The Greek word translated “virgin,” parthenos, can only mean “virgin,” not “young woman.” Isaiah was prophesying a virgin, indicated by the words “firstborn son” (Matthew 1:25; Luke 2:7) and “Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son” (Matthew 1:25). Isaiah 7:14 meant “virgin,” as indicated by Luke 1:34, for Mary “knew not a man.” Again, the Bible is clear that Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father.

Matthew 1:23 indisputably proves that almah in Isaiah 7:14 did not simply mean a “young woman,” who may or may not be sexually pure, but “a virgin,” a woman who never had any sexual intercourse. The Holy Ghost, not Joseph, was the Father of Jesus’ body (Matthew 1:18-20).

For more information, see our archived Bible Q&A: “What is the real Immaculate Conception?

God’s Perfect Timing

Saturday, December 17, 2022

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5 KJV).

As today’s Scripture indicates, the birth of Jesus Christ was no accident—God planned its exact moment from eternity past.

When God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, He purposed that man would “subdue [control] it,” to “have dominion” over it and everything on it (Genesis 1:28). Nevertheless, Adam sinned by joining Satan in his rebellion against God. Because of sin, man was now unable to accomplish on earth what God originally created him to do. God left the human race a promise, however, that there would come a Man, who would do what Adam failed to do. Instead of cooperating with God’s adversary like Adam had, this “seed of the woman” would “bruise [Satan’s] head” (Genesis 3:15).

Traveling up through the Scriptures, we see how God lays the groundwork for that seedline. In Genesis 12:1-3, or 2,000 years after Adam’s sin, we read God’s covenant with Abraham, that through Abraham a nation, Israel, will be born, and salvation and blessing will flow to the Gentiles through Israel. The seed of the woman becomes the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16).

In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and 1,000 years after Abraham, we read of God’s covenant with King David, that “his seed” will inherit his throne and reign forever. The seed of the woman and of Abraham becomes the seed of David.

About 1,000 years after David, Matthew 1:1 speaks of Christ’s birth, and declares, “…Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This is exactly what God had promised for thousands of years!

Jesus Christ’s birth was not some haphazard event of nature. God the Father had preplanned the exact moment of the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Over a period of some 4,000 years, the three members of the Godhead worked to bring about the birth of man’s Redeemer, a plan they had even before man was created! Amazing!

Scrooges and Christians

Friday, December 16, 2022

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV).

To the old identity, we say, “Bah, Humbug!” To the new, we say, “God has blessed us, everyone in Christ.”

Other than Jesus Christ’s conception and birth as found in the Holy Bible, there is one other classic story associated with Christmastime. British author Charles Dickens’ 1843 book, A Christmas Carol, focuses on the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge (the novella has some Christian influence).

From the onset, Scrooge is a wealthy, miserable, mean, stingy, and selfish old man. His employee, Bob Cratchit, is underpaid (yet, strangely, Ebenezer observes, Cratchit is cheerful). Scrooge refuses to donate to charities collecting for the destitute—to him, Christmastime is a time for others to “pick his pocket.” He even refuses to attend his nephew’s Christmas party. What a miser!

Through visitations by four Spirits—his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley; and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future—Scrooge is forced to realize what a thoroughly rotten man he is. Once confronted with his future, the awful events that lie ahead, he asks for another chance to make things right (which, thankfully, he receives and does!). The Scrooge at the end of the book is drastically different from the Scrooge at the beginning. Scrooge is now loving, warm, cheerful, and generous—he is a brand-new man.

Bible-believing Christians recognize parallels between Dickens’ work and the Holy Scriptures. The sinner starts off rotten, a rebel from birth—selfish, miserable, and mean. When he or she comes to realize that pitiful condition he or she is in, and comes by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins, God gives him or her a new identity (today’s Scripture). That identity is designed to influence subsequent actions. Scrooge did not simply change his outward activity; he had a change in heart first. This Christmas, let us be submissive to God’s Holy Spirit working in our hearts, as He uses sound Bible doctrine to manifest in our behavior our identity in Christ, that we be not Scrooges.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #5

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17 KJV).

The final verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King!”

Religion has done an excellent job (wrongly) teaching us that God likes to rehabilitate humans—that He wants to make us quit doing certain things (“fleshly”) and make us start doing other things (“churchy”). What a very shallow, and actually a false, perception. God wants to do much more than what we could ever do by ourselves.

For good works to reign in our lives, God has to kill us! As sinners, in Adam, we are dead in our trespasses and sins, no life in ourselves (see today’s Scripture). Nothing we can do in our own strength will ever change our (sinful) nature in Adam. However, God offers us death to Adam and a new identity through Christ at Calvary. When we trust that Jesus Christ died for our sins, in God’s mind, we died to sin, too. Christ did not simply die for us but as us. Romans chapters 5 through 8 describe the victory is in Christ, not in Adam or in ourselves. Success is by the power of the Holy Ghost working with the grace doctrines we study and believe, not in our struggles to do right. And so, “Christ [is] formed in [us]” (Galatians 4:19).

Something about which the angels cannot sing, but we can, should, and do! 🙂

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #3

Monday, December 5, 2022

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8 KJV).

The third verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them spiritual birth.
Risen with healing in His wings,
Light and life to all He brings,
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace!”

Jesus Christ was literally the perfect example of living in fellowship with Father God. He did not make Himself the issue but rather glorified His Father who had sent Him. Yea, He said to His Father, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39). What was Father God’s will? Check Hebrews 10:1-10. It was for Jesus to become a human that that human body die on that awful cross for our sins!

As our King James Bible says, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Modern versions so butcher this passage, saying Jesus Christ “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing.” Blasphemy!)

The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). That man may die and live through Him, Jesus Christ died. That man may die and live through Him, Jesus Christ resurrected. There is no greater name than the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:10)! Friends, let us join the angels in praising Him!